Sunday, 28 December 2014

Beer. Twixt Christmas and New Year....

Ay up,

    well, having finally gone mad after 3 or 4 days virtually exclusively in the house, today I ventured out to collect a prescription from town. Despite this well meaning intent, that is not what predominated my trip out. or, indeed, what happened. Here's what did.....

I met up with Angie instead. Myself and Angie have known each other for many years and today was a great chance to catch up for the first time in months and have some drinks.

Meeting on High Street we negotiated slippy slopes down to Bank Street, along Queen Street and then eventually up to the Three Tuns. They aren't normally open on a Sunday* but I'd seen a pic on Faceache which suggested they were - I'd already found out the Bath wasn't, so this was an ideal starting point.

On arrival Dave welcomed us and we opted for a coffee for Miss H and a pint of Cliffhanger for me, and we began supping and catching up. The Brass Castle cliffhanger was possibly the most bitter beer on despite being only 3.9%, and was a perfect starter. As the conversation continued we repeated the round and also bought a portion of chips and cheese, before we left the pub which, having been the only punters on arrival, was now filing up.

A treacherous tiptoe across the ice landed us at Shakespeares where things were a little busier. I had a pint of the Arbor Transatlantic Pale ale and Miss H a half of Cherry beer, and we retired to the clockroom to continue catching up. Peace was temporarily disturbed by a pub crawl of folk who virtually blocked access to the toilets - ample indication that they hadn't yet been - but otherwise even as other crowds joined, this was ideal.

My penultimate pint was the excellent Siren Craft Brew 10 finger discount IPA at 7.2% on keg, whilst Angie stuck to the fruit beer, and we finished our evening of refreshment with another pint of the same for me and a coke for her.

Overall, it was a quiet but enjoyable evening, and great to see that, as expected, despite the pressures of Christmas, there was still a range of excellent beers available to those braving the ice and cold.


Wee Beefy

*David informs me, just now, that nowadays they are. So there! Pop down......

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Two hours in Retford.

Now then,

              on the way back from Cropton Wee Keefy diverted down the A1 to visit his friends in Retford. I was asked if I fancied getting a train back, and discovered I had two hours to wait for it. The question was - what would I do?

Regular readers may assume I went shopping, or to a religious retreat to meditate, or a vegan cafe. Yet, in a surprising move, I opted instead to go to some pubs. I didn't have a GBG with me and I haven't really looked up Retford before but I remembered one pub which was OK and WK recommended the Turks Head. Armed with this and no other info, I set off....

Walking into the town centre wasn't difficult. I soon arrived at a road near Asda and saw the Rum Runner - this was the pub I remembered being OK. Inside it has two rooms at the front, the left one seemingly for games, and a large one up steps at the back. They were serving food (twas a Sunday) and had five or more beers on. This included Hopback Summer Lightning, so I opted for a quick pint of that.

The pub has Batemans signage and carried two of their beers including one from the Salem Brewery which sounds like it might be a Batemans micro plant? Meanwhile there was Castle Rock and Deuchars, so I think the Hopback was the best choice.

Heading into town next I eventually gave up guessing where the pub was and asked a stranger - who wasn't from Retford, but he stopped a passer by who gave me directions to the pub. The Turks Head is a rather fine old pub on a road leading off the square and inside has some pleasant original features, perhaps 1920's or earlier, and not with the austerity of 1930's fittings. There were 4 beers on the bar, an Everards seasonal, Landlord, Black Sheep and St Austell Tribute, so I had a pint of this.

The pub was warm, not too busy, friendly and comfortable, and if I'd had more time, and, to be fair, if they'd had a better range of real ales, I would have stopped longer. I have to say I liked the design of the high ceiling toilets - perhaps my increasing age is represented by how much importance I place on pub toilets....

Back into the square and round the next corner to a church - the pub nearby didn't advertise real ales but the Sun Inn did. This was an old building which seemed half way through a refurbishment, with an old dark area on your right with families in and the rest of the pub in an L to the left. Only one real ale was on, Adnams Explorer at £3.00 a pint, so I had a half and carried on.

Nearly back at Asda I headed down West Street to visit the White Lion,a free house. Inside, the bar, which had quite modern fittings and plenty of space, there were two real ales, Doom Bar and something I couldn't read which I was assured was local. I tasted it and it was incredibly light, although not in colour. So I opted, with time running out, to try this.

My final stop was round the corner in the Rum Runner again, this time once more having the Summer Lightning and sitting down bear the bar soaking up the atmosphere and appreciating the warmth. A brisk walk back to the station nearly resulted in my missing the train as I didn't valise it was so far to Platform 3 from the main station. Once back at Woodhouse I nipped in the Junction.

I hoped it would still sell real ale - it did when me and Davefromtshop visited in 2010 - but alas there were two signs on the pumps stating the real ales were settling in the cellar. Still despite this, I got a bottle of Pedigree and supped that. The Junction still looks similar and still appears to be a family pub, although a lack of lights on the way to the gents means its either short of cash for light bulbs or discourages those who want a wee! It still seems like a good community pub though, and I will pop back soon to find out what real ale they sell.

This is obviously not an exhaustive exploration of Retford's pubs but was a nice change and showed that even with little info you can find real ale somewhere you have never been before.


Wee Beefy

Friday, 26 December 2014

Two different beer festivals


        after "Dryvember" (coughs) was a relative failure, I have striven to make up for the at least expected lack of bowze in December. Hence, unsurprisingly, I have had little time to remain sober. Sorry, to write. My review of a beer festival a month and slightly over a month ago therefore appears now. Soz un all.....

The New Inn at Cropton is famous for having two breweries - or, at least, two brewing companies based there. Cropton Brewery is the longer established outfit and produces mainly cask ales and bottles. The new fella is The Great Yorkshire Brewery, who produce cask and keg with potentially more emphasis on keg, as well as bottles. For 20 odd years now the New Inn has held a beer festival to not only promote its wares, but also treat pub=goers to a wider range of UK real ales and to provide camping and live music.

Last year as you may recall the weekend of the Cropton beer festival, starting on the 22nd November, was when Wee Fatha was rushed into hospital so we didn't go. This year, although Jambon and Jo pulled out late on, me and Wee Keefy decided to travel oop North as a kind of pilgrimage to WF - we even rang him Saturday morning, to receive a ten minute moan about his Doctors - so we knew he was well.

Arriving around Midday we got parked behind the pub and set up camp in the field opposite. By 13.00 we were in the marquee drinking.  I started with a half of Hopcraft "whose been sleeping in my brain" and we had other beers from Banks and Taylors and Gyle 59. If I have a criticism of Cropton festival, and its a small one, its that you, as well as the staff don;t know where the beers are, or indeed which ones are on. And the names on the signs are often wrong. But hey, that's a minor issue. It makes things more fun....

After 2 pints we went for a walk in the village, along a muddy track and then back as we lost track of the path, before returning to the tent after seeing the sun for 20 minutes break through the heavy fog, to eat dinner before returning to the festival. It was far busier now and we got sat near the food area and started trying beers, more from Gyle 59 and Moor, invluding So Hop and Dark Alliance, and chatting to persons from bike clubs and Sheffield band Kingfisher Blue. We also ate, and the food was lovely, and went for a walk in the black fog to find "phone signal" - we failed. On returning we eventually moved into the pool room and I began my 3rd of 5 pints of the Art Brew Double IPA at 7.2% - and a bargain £3.20 a pint.

This is a great festival with a good and varied range of ales, decent food, and, if you are still "young" enough to like camping, fantastic free accommodation! We both hope to be returning next year.

The next week was Shakespeares 2014 Autumn beer festival. Having acquired funds me and Tash went Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed the range of beers, perhaps excepting the odd Wild beer co ones which were um....odd?

One of the great things about Shakespeares festivals of late was the availability of good quality and well priced keg beers from small UK and other breweries - a highlight of which included Radler from Burning Sky, a distinct lemony ale with lost of subtle hops to unsweeten it, as well as an excellent IPA from Kernel.

Alas, in th intervening month since the festival I have contrived to mis-file all my copies of the beer list. Luckily, my erstwhile drinking companions Mike and Danny write their own beer blog, so I have borrowed some details of the beers they tried to fill out my own piece. I haven't asked their permission, but assume they don't mind....

So, the beers I tried definitely, were:

Five Towns V2 Schneider Dunkel
Weird beard K**ntish Town
Loch Lomond Simcoe
Moor Dark Alliance
Brewsmith Oatmeal Stout
Waen Avalanche Pale
George Wright Yorkshire Brown Ale
Siren Ryseing Tides IPA
Arbor NZ Amber
Siren Calypso
Bridestones/Steel City Brewing So Craft It Hurts (vanilla aged stout)
Kernel Pale ale Citra Mosaic
To Ol Fuck Art this is religion (barrel aged double)

Beers of the festival were the Burning Sky New Gods Radler, the Waen Avalanche and my most drunk favourite, the Siren Ryseing Tides, a "tidy" 7.4% pal ale that drank like a far lower strength ale, but was packed with complimentary rye and tangy hops.

Both these festivals were excellent but really quite different. The main thing linking em, however, was hard work and dedication by the venues involved, and absolutely cracking real ale and keg beer. Looking forward to the next ones.


Wee Beefy

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

New pubs in Sheffield


            for the title of this post, it maybe worth thinking of phrases such as selling coal to Newcastle (mow maybe Eastern Europe), ice to the Eskimo's, and new bottled beer to Asda at Handsworth - all of course, seemingly pointless exercises. However, despite already having a burgeoning throng of frankly excellent and often Nationally renowned boozers, there is, of course, nothing better about real ale than choice. So, why not extend that choice further with some new venues?

Lets start with not a new pub. Yup. It was previously the Sportsman. So why is it in you may ask? Well, to fulfill a journalistic intent. And also because it has changed hands and owners. The pub, on Cambridge Street just off Barkers Pool, gas been reopened following a sensitive but limited refurbishment, as the Tap and Tankard. I haven't checked, but the bar and rumour suggests that Kelham Island Brewery are the new owners.

Visiting a pub for the first time, on a Saturday night before Christmas, is perhaps not the best idea, since it will likely be full of drunk persons and fans of association football, with short tempers. That said, it stood out quite well. On my first visit I was only in for 15 minutes, supping a delicious pint of Pale Rider at £2.90 a pint. My second visit the day after, was less successful. Myself and Miss N went in and she had her all time favourite real ale Pedigree, and I had something from Harthill Village brewery that I liked. The Pedigree, when I finally tried it, was odd. Very odd. Very sweet and thick, like beer concentrate, with none of the sulfurous tones it should display.

I wondered if, since I haven't had any Ped for ages, they had changed the recipe or brewing methods, but I also thought that the sweetness, almost caramelised in taste, was probably a sign of an infection. By this time the pint was almost finished so when we left I mentioned that it didn't taste right. The staff didn't seem confident in defending it, but opted to keep it in, saying I had obviously drunk more Pedigree than them - which I think I have - but then saying that they thought it should taste like that. It shouldn't. This is a new venture and likely just finding its feet but I think I will try it again in the new year to see how things are going.

Next up is an actual new pub. A building that wasn't previously a pub but now is. Its The Beer House, Sheffield's first permanently open micro pub. Its on 635 Ecclesall Road and sells beer. And cider, and some spirits and soft drinks, and Space Raider crisps. Its really quite good.

The former e-cigarettes store has two small rooms, the first housing the small bar with 6 handpumps and a couple of kegs including Stancil Lager, and the second is through a wide opening behind. Admittedly there is also a cellar and access to the toilets. If you want to be precise, you could drink in these. But you wouldn't....

There were four beers on when we arrived, and unfortunately the Marble Pint had run out, but in a rather lengthy wait to get served we spotted the Orchard Gold from Sheffield brewery Fuggle Bunny and had a pint each of that at £3.20. We crammed onto chairs next to a large table at the back and started to look at the pictures, old photographs, and soak up the atmosphere - which is conversation based. And enhanced. Entirely.

Next up we had a half of the FB Russian Rarebit, a stout made with pale malt which was lovely, another half of the Orchard Gold which is made with honey and spice but subtly, and a fantastic pint of wheat beer from Harthill Village Brewery. Hirsche Hugel Bier has a lovely refreshing flavour of, well, wheat malt but also banana and subtle spices. It was very easy to drink and had a lovely smooth but not overly velvety taste. It was so good we had two more pints to finish.

Overall we stayed a couple of hours in the pub and really enjoyed it. I heard rumours they were doing cocktails, and, admittedly that seems non-micropub-ish, but then its not set in stone _ I think - and crucially, I didn't see any evidence. Keep up the good work!

Finally a new pub that might nor exist. You may remember, or I may remember intending to tell you, that the Bell Jar on London Road appeared to have closed. After a few weeks without signs of ;life a large banner has appeared over the door stating "Free House The Albion Real Ales". I don't know any more to be honest, nut it seems a bit too ironic to be a tribute to what, in terms of the Albion, I understood was a resolutely keg only Stones pub for many years. Obviously, when I hear any more I will let you know.

All that remains for me to say is do go and try the new and potentially new pubs out, and more importantly, have a fantastic Christmas and a very happy 2015.


Wee Beefy

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Upcoming beer festivals!


        just a quick note about upcoming events which, in now dampvember, I will be attending.

First of all, from yesterday until Sunday ts the Cropton beer festival at the New Inn in Cropton in North Yorkshire. Me and Wee Keefy are driving up today and camping overnight - so lets hops it stays dry! Here is a link to their website for more info. Not sure about the beer range but 2012 and 2011 was a good mix of established and new smaller breweries, and their own Cropton and Great Yorkshire beers will also be available.

Last year Wee Fatha was taken into hospital the day before so we didn't go, so will ring him this morning and have, at least, a pint for him whilst am there.

Next week, starting Wednesday 26th November, is the Shakespeares Autumn beer festival here in sunny Sheff. There is a link here to their Facebook page which I assume is public. Having viewed the early list of beers available it looks stunning as always, with plenty of new and rare breweries I've never heard of on the bar.

Won't probably make it until Friday (payday!) but I highly recommend a visit, to both festivals mentioned.


Wee Beefy

Thursday, 13 November 2014

November nidorousness (so far)


        having set myself up to drink now and again in November this allows me the opportunity to record some actual nights out and supping and stuff. Here am that....

On 31st October I started my drinking at Dada with a fantastic but somewhat hastily dispatched pint of the Dark Star American Pale Ale on keg for something like £3.50 a pint. I was in a rush as meeting Miss N in Boots but she was delayed, allowing me extra time to sup this fantastic tipple. We later met folks in the Sheffield Tap and had pints of Magic Rock. Or similar. Or not....and at Chandlers in Chesterfield where we went to celebrate Halloween, there was no real ale. But the Erdinger was good.

On Sunday we went to the Polish beer tent at the continental market. Two draught beers were on but I'd had them before, Zywiec and Lech, so we had bottles - I had Kaszetelan Nierpasteryzowane unfiltered lager, and Miss N had Tatra, as one of er cats used to be named that. Matty joined us and he and then we moved onto, bottles of Warka Strong, a nutty darker lager at 6.5%. My work colleagues however recommended the 7.0%  Debowe Mocne which is brewed by Tyskie and tastes of nuts. Well, it takes all sorts!

From here we walked down to the Rutland to enjoy Blue Bee Nycto Black IPA and Oyster Stout and too much High Wire. The jukebox was temporarily ours (so little recent stuff) and we soon settled down to a night of relaxation. One interesting note was that a 6.2% Siren Craft Brew Porter, served by cask, was on at £6.20 a pint. That is correct. Probably. Matty was told they added 40% to the cost they bought the beer at to get that price - am not sure if that is a lot but either way it must be very overpriced in the first place. Suffice to say I didn't buy any, on principal. The High Wire on keg was nearly £2.50 less a pint so we supped that instead. It was matchless by the way.

A last one followed at the Sheffield Tap which was about to close for refurbishment - it should have reopened fully today if not last night.

Other recent visits have included the Red Deer - recently they also had the excellent Nycto from Blue Bee on, which is a good development for those of us with a love of very hoppy beer. We went there to meet Matty and got ourselves a quiet table in the corner to write a birthday card for our friend Double M and supped the beer by the fire.

The Bath Hotel tonight had at least 4 excellent beers on - Summer Wine Brewery Diablo at 6% and Thornbridge Pollards, both on cask, and Buxton Axe Edge Pale (6.8%) and Far Skyline on keg. Tonight we stuck firmly to Fentimans Victorian Lemonade and Dandelion and Burdock but the other night we tried both the Diablo and the Axe Edge - both were on excellent form.

Finally, a bit of bad Bath news - I found out tonight (though I hear its been on Twitter already) that Edd is to leave the Bath Hotel. This is a shock for me and a real shame to see such a great member of staff leave the pub, which has become a firm favourite of mine under Edd and Steff's stewardship. No news yet on who will take over but its a shame to lose such a high caliber member of staff.

More news soon!

Wee Beefy

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The 40th Steel City Beer and Cider Festival

Now then,

              all good things come to those who wait. Someone said. About something, once. Well, those words maybe at least, half true, if you await a Beefy blog post - because time was being called on the first public night of the above a fortnight ago. So I'm fairly certain that every other local blogger will have given their thoughts before me.

Despite that, and having not read any (sorry all) I will try and remember what happened at the festival that is as old as me.....

It took me a few years to work out the Wednesday night session was open to all. I have the feeling I went on Wednesday to the 39th but am not entirely sure, but this year I damn well specifically planned, at 16.30, to attend on Wednesday. I met Miss N after work and we walked to Kelham Island to face a £10.00 entry to the free festival - this did however include a programme, a rented glass and £7.00 worth of tickets. Which is fine, except I had intended to go with just a fiver each and see how it went - luckily we had sufficient funds.

The first issue was finding Wee Keefy. We had been led up the stairs to the upper hall and when asked where the pub was were told it was across the bridge - it wasn't, of course, that was the upper hall. Our disappointment was quickly removed by spotting cheeses and black pudding (the ideal non low calorie snack combo) and meeting up with lots of people we know, including Saul, who recommended I try a Waen Snowball. It was 7% so a bit keen to start on but ended up being one of my favorites, along with the beer I started on, the Hopcraft Citraic. It was excellent.

After a few chats we went downstairs and found our way to the tent and the Millowners Arms pub and thus Wee Keefy. We were interviewed by Sheffield live, and met up with Thornbridge staff and persons from Sheffield breweries. The ale flowed and we got sat upstairs to enjoy much more of it, including some excellent smoked porter and some On the Edge beer that wasn't what I expected.

Thursday night Miss N very kindly fetched some funds for me and I met up with Jules and Will to collect a free ticket - although it was only a pound entry, and then had a delicious but expensive pint and  a half of Brew by Numbers saison on keg in the Tap before the festival. The deal on the sponsor tickets was, admittedly, misunderstood - one person claimed his free entry and beer tickets and got the token back which he exchanged at the bar for a free pint. I got tickets for a free 3rd, and a glass. I used this to good effect though, buying a 3rd of Yeovil Posh IPA at 5.4%.

We once again ventured upstairs and also spent time in the pub, which had about 6 handpumps and featured much brewery and pub history of Sheffield. I also found some cheese (I know, it sounds grim) and ate it whilst enjoying some of the excellent  Ratwieller from Rat Brewery.

Friday I was drinking non real ale in Chesterfield but came back Saturday afternoon to meet Terry and Helen and Nat and Jeff, talk cider, and drink very very hazy but ultimately very tasty Magic Rock High Wire to finish. Here is a list of other beers I supped :

Blue Bee Nycto Black IPA/could have been Galaxy IPA!
Brampton Winter Bock
Cerdon Citralicious
Dark Star NHA
Fuggle Bunny 24 Carat
Fuggle Bunny Deadly Nightshade
Hopcraft Iceberg Theory
Hopcraft Citraic
Hopcraft who's been sleeping in my brain?
Hopcraft Proffits of doom
Imperial Chocolate chilli cherry stout
Little Ale Cart Galactic Calypso
Magic Rock High Wire
On The Edge New Romance
Rat Ratweiller
Skys Edge Citra Smash
Thornbridge Rattlesnake
Thornbridge Murmansk
Tiger Tops Dark Age
Waen Snowball

Overall I tried a decent number, though many in thirds so its not as bad as it looks. However, despite the snowball and Hopcraft Citraic and Magic Rock High Wire being favourites, there were fewer beers than last year which stood out. Admittedly I finished on three pints of High Wire but those were my last festival drinks.

That aside however I thought this was an excellent choice of venue and one which delivered on most  fronts. There was no trouble that I saw, not much queuing, plenty of choice, especially food wise, and almost enough seating. A better festival than last yea and one which I will, as always, attend next year.


Wee Beefy

Monday, 10 November 2014

Dryvember. Sort of.....


                     this month Miss N is attempting to not drink alcohol in November. This is half of the word Dryvember you see. I have expertly taken two parts of both words to create an entirely new one. It turns out, this is the most successful part of Dryvember thus far....

The challenge came about when Matty, Miss N's son, and Miss N, agreed to pick a month in 2014 when one of them would not drink. Matty chose July, when I saw him drink at least 3 times, and Miss N November. Straight away that impacted on Wee Fatha's birthday celebrations so the challenge was altered to be dry, apart from 4 occasions. I decided that I should join in this undertaking in support.

You may argue that drinking on 4 occasions in one moth isn't a dry month. You would be correct. You may also read the next statement - that we have only reduced our imbibing to every other day so far - and think we have failed. But you would be wrong. We had, previously, drunk every day but 2 in the last 4 months. That is excessive and expensive! So, in fact, Dryvember has already been a comparative success.  

Last night it was suggested that drinking only every other day was in itself a form of moderation. Such has been the excess of our, more so my, consumption this year, our tolerance levels and speed of drinking have dropped. Therefore, we are drinking significantly less than we did in say, July. I hope this doesn't come across as a cry for recognition, its nothing of the sort, just a short musing on the challenges faced and tackled by us in reducing the amount we drink.

I think I will manage a whole week, or maybe even from now until 22nd November when I am going to Cropton beer festival. Even if I don't I will still save money and reduce pressure on my bladder, and, ahem, other affected areas....

Luckily, drinking once every other day does of course still allow indulgence that can be written about - this is therefore also an advert for upcoming reviews of beer festivals, beer tents and pubs visited in the last fortnight.

And in anticipation of such, expect my Sheffield 40th beer festival review later!


Wee Beefy

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Independent Manchester Beer Covention 2014


     last week I was very chuffed to be invited to the Indy Man Beer Con as a member of the press. I know! Me? I just write a blog now and again. However, these uncertainties did not prevent me from accepting the tickets....

Having never been before I made sure I got there as quickly as I could and stayed as late as I could on my ticket. Here is what I found.

The festival is held in a stunning location, the Victoria Baths on Hathersage Road in Chorlton On Medlock. You may have seen this venue on the Restoration programme on that there telly a while ago. Sufice to say, as a lover of ornate architecture and tiling, I was as excited about seeing the venue as tasting the beer!

A short taxi ride deposited me outside and straight away there were tiles. Many, many, many tiles. There was also a room with beers and food and people in it. This made me feel surprisingly thirsty all of a sudden and I had the Burning Sky Saison L'autumne on keg, using my white beer tokens, marking the beer off on the programme with my Camden pencil. Assumedly they aren't copyright claiming that....

I sat down briefly to assess the beers on offer and concluded that there must be other rooms. There was. I headed next to the Green Room, awash with fabulous green tile work and two bars, one selling overseas beers at a higher cost, and one with two handumps and keg fonts from the Port Street Beer House. I had the Indy Man Brewhouse Pale and a half on cask and it was bloody excellent. I was, now, officially a very happy punter.

Off next to the Turkish Baths which is where Beavertown were hanging out. Here I had their Qyelle, a dry hopped saison on keg. This was an interesting and very enjoyable beer, but I wanted a good ole fashioned cask ale next so headed through more magnificent tiling and stairways to room  1, where I had a Squawk Bean Brothers coffee porter at 7.0%, which in line with all the beer so fat, and indeed thereafter, was excellent.

I moved onto the other rooms for a while, went outside to look at the Brewdog bar, and up above room 3 where there were old doors awaiting fixing and brilliant sunlight through the glass roof. I then got sat in room 2 with an American Couple and tried some beers with them, including Against The Grain Citra Ass Down, a 6.7% keg beer, Hawkshead Green Juniper and hemp double IPA at 7% and Wiper and True Triptych Pale ale on cask at 4.9%. I also chatted with the brewer for a while, which to be fair, everyone else seemed to be doing.

I soon met up with Jules and Will from Hop Hideout off license in Sheffield and we started making our way round and through some of the other beers on offer. I also splashed out a large amount of money on a hot dog, as the beer was taking effect having started supping at 11.30. Its fair to say that I lose track at this point of the order of ales tried, but I did reliably tick my programme, so the others I tried were :

Lovibonds 69 IPA (keg) 6.9%
Arbor Indy Girl (Keg) 9%
Rooie Dop Back to Black (Keg) 8.6%
Burning Sky Aurora (Cask) 5.5%
Northern Monk New World Pale (cask)
Kernel Pale Ale Columbus (Keg) 4.8%
Alechemy Monumental - 1 yr aged Octomore (Keg) 11.5%

As you can see i tried a lot of kegs, but mainly the kegs were serving the stronger beers on offer. I think overall there may have been more kegs but as I said already, there were no bad beers that I tried. The issue of serving beers in 3rds came up at previous festivals but to be honest I never really noticed. That said, it was never mentioned to me, which is a bit slack, and it did mean that the beers were on the whole very expensive - not so bad for the kegs but not good value for the cask offerings.

Overall however this was my first and a very enjoyable beer festival in an exemplary setting which sold some cracking beers. The atmosphere was good, the food smelled amazing and once again, I must mention that I didn't try a bad beer from the 12 or so I had. Here, potentially, are some photos I took as well.

Lets hope the beer quality at the last two festivals I have attended recently can be matched at Kelham Island in a fortnight...


Wee Beefy

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Sheffield Brew Fest at the Bath Hotel


             last night my camera tells me I was at Sheffield Brew Fest at the Bath Hotel. I also went to Peddler for half an hour. A pretty full day for me, and here are my thoughts on both festivals.....

Before I start, please note that you can see my pics on Facebook here assuming the link works. They are hardly detailed and mainly feature people drinking. The things is, that is really what Brew Fest was all about.....

I went Thursday after a "starter" at Shakespeares and found the festival rammed. People were standing outside the pub (but sensibly not on the road! ) drinking some of the 29 or so casks, 8-ish kegs and numerous bottles on offer. Myself and Miss N stood outside with Emily and the guy from Coach and Horses (Are you Adam?!) and talked beers for a while, before coming inside and somehow managing to find a seat. We started on halves of Blue Bee American Five Hop from Sheffield and Alechemy Summit Burst from Scotland. Both were very good.

We moved onto halves of the Northern Monk Blueberry Saison which (and everyone said thankfully") didn't taste much of blueberry, but was an excellent saison. I also tried a half of the Moor Illusion which was a refreshing if comparatively uninspiring beer, as well as the Anarchy Sublime Chaos Breakfast Stout at 7.0^, because I love it. I finished on a half of the excellent Summer Wine Brewery Cirachi, an outstanding Sorachi Ace Pale Ale at 5.9%.

On Friday I left work early and arrived at 16.30, to find seating and freely donated Wateralls pork pies on sale at £1.50. I had one, (the money went to charity) along with a half of Five Points Pale, and settled down. I got chatting with an older gent about the pies and then the beers. He had marked off on the flyer which breweries cask beers he had not found, and was quite disappointed. I explained that all the breweries listed featured somewhere at the festival, just some only on keg or in bottle. He was quite forceful in his rejection of such styles, stating that he "only drinks real ale, nothing else".

A couple pf years ago I would have been similarly, if not entirely in agreement but by trying good and bad keykegs and having always drunk bottles I couldn't agree, so listed some quality stouts, rye, pales sours and saisons on offer. This only annoyed the man further, telling me, with disgust, that he'd been to Cantillon, loved the brewery but hated the beer, and didn't like Belgian beer anyway. Seemed strange to have gone to Belgium, I thought..... I didn't even ask about German or U.S brews. Obviously the gent is entitled to his opinion and its good that he's so sure of what he likes but I couldn't help thinking he could maybe try one or more keg or bottled beers....

I later met up with Mike and Danny from Two Beer Geeks and got chatting to them whilst drinking the Atom Saison (on cask) and the Steel City, which seemed burnt to me - too much time aboil? Not an unpleasant brew though.

Yesterday I went to Peddler festival first. This was in a small yard and warehouse on Arundel Lane opposite the Lord Nelson pub. There was, as promised, street food stalls, all of whose wares smelled fantastic; there was, as advertised, live music, and a small amount of art. The "Craft Beer" aspect of the ads turned out to be the Hop box, who had two beers on. The Dark Star Hophead was lovely and about right on keg at £4.00 a pint, and I understand there was a saison on the night before but I was a little underwhelmed!

Up the Hill I arrived at the Bath about 18.30 to find it unsurprisingly busy. Many folks from the local beer scene were there and I eventually managed to secure a seat, along with a half of the Summer Wine Cirachi again, and the blueberry saison. I also tried the Black Jack Belgian Red, and the Ilkley Rye beer which was very strange but enjoyable. I was joined by Clare and then Miss N and we drank the rest of the night away, including more excellent Thornbridge Desert Sessions, and finished on Magic Rock Human Cannonball.

This was the busiest I've seen the Bath perhaps ever and there were some incredibly good beers on, and it was good to see people of all ages drinking cask, keg, can and bottle. Cask wise, the highlights were particularly the two Alechemy ones, and others from Ilkley, Hopcraft, On the Edge, Blue Bee, Five Points, Siren and Summer Wine.

If I had a grumble it was the prices. Apart from Blue Bee and Summer Wine (maybe) all beers were £4.00 a pint, or more. This seemed regardless of strength, so the stronger beers were usually better value, apart from Black Jack Belgian Red which was £5.00 a pint at 6.something%. The kegs would naturally be more expensive and were about right but the lower gravity cask was overpriced.

However, that was the only gripe and overall this was a fantastic festival, which, who knows, may even still be on now. The beer quality was in my opinion, excellent.

Well done to Jules and the team for arranging the festival, especially Ed and the Bath staff and the volunteers for working it. Lets hope the upcoming Sheffield Beer Festival can match it!

Wee Beefy

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Beer festivals!


     just a quick post whilst my tomato and tuna and cheese pasta bake is warming, to tell you about some booze celebrations.

First up is Sheffield Brew Fest at the Bath Hotel, Victoria Street, Sheffield. The fest started Thursday and runs until the beer runs out on Sunday - I understand a few more casks are in the cellar so hopefully you should be able to get a full days drinking on the Sunday. Beer of the festival so far is between Anarchy Brew Sublime Chaos and Summer Wine Cirachi.

Today and yesterday sees "Peddler" on Arundel Street, featuring Street food, art, craft beer  and live music. Not been yet but sounds interesting, although am always wary of the craft beer description - hoping to go down later for a look. You can find them here .

Next week is the indomitable Indy Man Beer Con in Manchester. I am (alleged;y) going on Friday. Really looking forward to the festival almost as much as the venue, the Victorian Baths.  Here are some details form their website.

Finally, Sheffield beer festival takes place at the end of October at Kelham Island Museum. I haven't got the flyer to hand so will post more details soon!


Wee Beefy

Saturday, 27 September 2014

More Arms, more pints


     a few things have happened since I last wrote. Here's a sort of round up thing. You know, to tell you what they are....

A day after posting about the desire for the Wellington to reopen as a pub the signs on it, in Darnall, were changed to read "Shop to let" with suggestions for a mini supermarket or restaurant undreneath. I'm not remotely surprised but this is a shame to hear.

Despite this potential threat which I hope isn't a poorly judged political stunt, the University Arms reopened on 15 September following a refurbishment. There was a Welbeck Abbey beer on which we both had and some Kelham Island Pale Rider which I had for old times sakes. I also had a bottle of the Camden Hells since it was on offer. I read somewhere that people had fallen out with Camden as they had tried to copyright the word hello. Or something. To be honest I didn't read the details....

Refurb wise it looks a little darker and perhaps a little classier, but I understand the big changes have taken place upstairs. In my usual form, ignoring investigative vigour, I did not go upstairs. You should though.

I went to the Brothers Arms on Well Road in Heeley a couple more times, ate plenty more Onion Bhaji's and drank a frankly astonishing pint (or in fact 5) of the Blackjack Red Rye Saison, at 7.2% and selling at £3.20 a pint. Loving saison and rye as I do, that was a very enjoyable drink. There continues to be much to admire at the Arms, with the exception perhaps of the member of staff who couldn't recommend or even describe a beer I asked about...!

Recent trips to the Bath Hotel have heralded 3 amazing beers. Most notable was Wild Beer Co Sourdough kegged sour beer, which was delightful and not bad value at £3.80 a pint. The other was the matchless elegance of the Desert Sessions which was brewed at Thornbridge by Ed and Steff from behind the bar. The final is the Raven Black IPA from Thornbridge which is on good form. Drank some Deseret Sessions last Saturday with friends Clare and Gav on a rather raucous night out following pints in Shakespeares.

Of which I can report, they have greatly extended their bottled beer selection and printed a list, of which there are about 3 copies on some tables. The prices are competitive as always and the Evil Twin, Kernel and Beavertown ones are highlights. Recent good beers in here have been the Waen Knicklejacker (knuckleknocker/knickleknacker - I didn't write it down sorry) which was a very pleasing red ale, along with the excellent Liverpool Stout.

A trip to a new venue on Thursday, the Anchorage bar diner on the usually terrible for beer West One. Pricey and very much foody but having about 10 keg taps, we had two astonishing halves. Miss N had a UK cheery sour which was described by the barman as odd but instead was fantastic tasting, and I had the Alechemy Rye Rye IPA which was very easy to drink. I hear the food is also good so will have to pop in again.

We recently went to Henry's and had some decent India Ale from the recently rocky fortunes of Chantry Brewery (in so far as their beer has been disappointing in numerous venues). This was competitively priced around £2.60 a pint and after we had this we went to the Brewhouse next door. I'm determined to like this place but the flaws still keep coming up. The cask range of cloudy tasters from the non operating brewery never tempts me and there was nothing really hoppy or stoutish on the bar. In the end I bought Miss N a pint of a milk stout or similar which was OK but lackluster, and I bought a pint of punk IPA, as I've never had it on Keg. To my amazement it was over £5.00 a pint, which is, I understand, more than it costs in BrewDog bar.

It seems strange that Henry;s keep their beer well and maintain an interesting selection but the bar next door which they own falls short so often. Perhaps the brewery working in the premises will improve things?

Finally,I went to a new pub on Sunday. We popped in the Riverside on Leppings Lane for a pint of Farmers Cherry Bitter which was actually very nice, not too fruity, and sat on the terrace overlooking the Wednesday ground. From here we walked along Beeley Wood Road in sunshine and through the woods to Oughtibridge. We visited the Cock Inn which is a large traditional boozer on the road linking the two main roads.

There used to be, Miss N assures me, an unspoilt games room on the right, alas this is now a tea room, but the pub has a cosy traditional feel and sells three real ales including Bradfield Blonde. On this occasion we had a very enjoyable pint of Timothy Taylors Landlord and sat round the back. Overall this was a good boozer with much to recommend it so will maybe pop back soon.

That's all the news I have or can remember for now. Really. It actually is. Wibble.


Wee Beefy

Saturday, 20 September 2014



       on Thursday 18 September 2014 in Sheffield, the persons in the CAMRA (you've seen the CAMRA) awarded a Pub of the Month, erm, a Sheffield pub. For September this was the Andrew Inns owned Three Tuns on Silver Street Head. Here are some details of what happened when we got there. At, admittedly, 21.20....

We found Mr Andrew outside and he told us we'd missed the award presentation. Apparently, Dave had not needed a microphone and had used his considerable voice to deliver the speech. With the greatest respect, I hadn't persuaded my Mum and Step Dad to drop me off in town for the chance to hear a speech. Oh no. I was here to buy beer and catch up with friends. First reason achieved.....

Myself and Miss N went to the bar and bought two pints of the Blue Bee Simcoe IPA. As you may now know, Blue Bee is owned by Andrew Inns* and their recent beers have had a very strong hop presence. Their other beers on the bar included the Light Blue, which is excellent, Inov the Black and the Nycto Black IPA, and having tried this previously I felt it, along with their red ale, had too much bittering hops in to make it enjoyable. The Simcoe IPA however seems to have the prefect balance of acerbic hops and mellowing malt to make it a cracking pint.

We were quickly directed to the food table which, to our absolute surprise, had the joyous face of Mr Cullen next to it. Phillip the chef had offered to warm up the food as the cider pig was described as excellent - it really was. We had it with cheese and the crispest salad and a sauce or chutney and retired to a table near the bar to eat it. We later found out some of the recipe, so I think I will attempt a cider pig soon!

Next we moved onto a pint each of the 7% Inov the Black imperial stout. This was on excellent form, and both it and the Simcoe ran out whilst we were there. Having caught up with Ally, and Robin, once of Shakespeares, and placed brightly coloured arty hats on pints and heads and, erm, other bits, we were now ready to move up to the ships bow seating area and to catch up with more customers and staff.

The lovely Dave was working and she was also socialising, Phillip the chef won 5 beers in the raffle, Dave W and Josh discovered a shared love of balloons, and we got talking to the resolutely sensible Mr Alex Korner and his friend (insert name of friend who is chemist - sorry man with name who is a friend who is a chemist), and Laura who recognised me from when I used to drink in Trippetts. Which must be about 4 years ago. We moved onto pints of the Reet Pale from Blue Bee and watched the crowd get a little bit more drunk and to cheer the rather odd selection of music on the Juke Box.

We finished the night on two halves of mixed Reet Pale and Nycto which was better than the Nycto if nothing else, just as the music became more dancey and people lost their inhibitions and started dancing in attempted formation.

The Three Tuns has improved immeasurably under the Andrew Inns stewardship and this was a great chance to celebrate that achievement. Well done to all involved for putting on a fantastic  spread and selling some excellent beers.


Wee Beefy

*Andrew Ins, of course, doesn't exist. However. the Reet Ale  Pubs company most likely does, and more likely owns blue Bee. That's a brewery ownership factoid. Y'r welcome.

Friday, 12 September 2014

I forgot to mention.....

Now then,

 just to quickly let you know a few bits of "news"....

The long closed Wellington pub in Darnall has had a repaint and the steels shutters removed and is To Let. No indication yet that anyone has taken it on but it has been for sale (I think) through Colliers CRE since at least 2009 so maybe this will be its best hope? It was widely tipped to become the new Doctors back in 2011 but that plan was shelved. Having never visited this local pub to me, I'd love to see it reopen, preferably of course, with real ale.

The little altered (I am told!) Old Crown Inn on London Road is to reopen on 25 September 2014 offering live bands and real ales. This is another pub which has escaped me but was one which Dave Barraharri wanted to list on our Sheffield pub crawl, an ambitious plan which never got off the ground (and which is now operated on a similar basis by Real Ale Trails). It will be interesting to see who runs the new venue and indeed which real ales will be on offer. This is especially prominent since the Bell Jar has been closed on my last three visits. According to the following website the pub currently, or rather did, sell Moonshine....

Coming to the much loved National Inventory listed local The Bath Hotel on Victoria Street in October is Sheffield Brew Fest - a curated celebration of Sheffield and further afield brews. The festival, which has a website link here has already acquired beers from Siren Craft Brew - follow them on Twitter and access the website for updates on available beers.

On West Street on 13 June this year Maida Vale opened its doors, offering, much like the Old Crown, live bands and real ales. I ventured in on the Saturday and had halves of Osset Silver King and chatted to someone behind the bar who stated that the last incarnation only stayed open for a weekend or similar. It is noticeable therefore that I'm not certain the venue is still open, but will try and find out and update you.

The Three Cranes on Queen Street also appears to be closed, or keeping very restricted hours. If anyone knows what the situation is, please let me know!

Finally, the very long closed Cannon on King Street is To Let as retail units. Closed down some time ago it seems nobody wanted to take it on as a pub. This brings into focus the extent to which the potential reopening of the Wellington at Darnall is a surprising development.

All the best

Wee Beefy

Ale for the homlidays

Hello again,
         I've been orf work this week and have used my time constructively. to the pub. Oh yes. Lots of times. And enjoyed it very much. Since my note taking and long term memory are equally poor, I thought I'd fill you in on what I got up to so far.

Monday saw me and Miss N going shopping and drinking, in town and Walkley. Miss N started her shopping at the Dove and Rainbow and bought a fetching hat, whilst I started my wander in Walkley at the Florist. Subtle internal changes have taken place since I last ventured in, namely the decor, and Bradfield Brown Cow was the only real ale. It was on decent form and £1.25 a half. Sat in the left hand bay I could see the now refurbished "Crown House" across the road, now almost unrecognisable as a  pub and as previously mentioned, sharing its fate with other Walkley locals. Good to see then, customers coming in the Florist straight from work.

Along South Road the Walkley Beer Co premises weren't open but still set up to be a temporary pub - I hear they were open August Bank Holiday. There was talk of them opening the building permanently as an off licence and then getting a temporary bar license for events and bank holidays, but am unsure what the situation is.  I understand you can only get about 10 such licences a year, and with no further bank holidays til Christmas it would be a shame to wait so long to visit the pub/shop again.

Next up I popped into the Rose House. Three handpumps in here and one beer on, a rather odd tasting Moorhouses First Cut which I recall was £1.50 a half. It was fairly busy, and although not noticeably advertising the real ales, its a good sign that they are still selling them.

Into Commonside next and I opted not to visit the Springvale and instead went to the Closed Shop which was also, for a Monday late afternoon, quite busy. I had an excellent pint of Brass Castle Cliffhanger at £2.90 a pint and went and sat in the last of the sunshine in the beer garden. Having eaten an entire packet of chorizo from the excellent Beeches shop in Walkley I opted not to eat here, apart from some expensive zebra jerky. Instead I opted to "eat" the Brass Castle Sunshine, which, despite its light colour, you virtually needed a spoon to get it down your throat.  Afterwards I nipped into the Hallamshire to see the man of Ash and sup a very enjoyable half of Thornbridge desert sessions rye IPA at 5.7%, which was probably £1.75 a half - but I didn't write that down.

I walked into Broomhill next and had a tasty smoked chicken and potato salad and half a 4.2% Summer Wine Brewery Union pale at the York. The salad was delicate and delicious but I probably would have benefited more from a bag of chips! I also visited the Broomhill Tavern for the first time this decade and had a half of  Kelham Island Easy Rider at £1.50, from a range of 2 or 3. Its difficult to get the feel of the place on such a short visit but I noticed they took the menus off the tables at 18.50....

Off into town I stopped in the Wick at Both Ends for half of the Blackjack Trial 13 at £1.60, which was an odd but tasty beer, before going to meet Miss N and drink a pint and a half of Blue Bee Lustin for Stout in the Dove and Rainbow. Here I met Mr Slaughter and we persuaded him to join us for a last one in Shakespeares before he walked home to Stannington (!) and we headed home. I can't remember what we had but Mr S had a pint of the Revolutions demo wheat beer which was  very nice, as we discovered on Wednesday....

Which is when I met Miss N outside work and we walked in the hazy evening sunshine to the Gardeners Rest. I had a pint of Fyne Ales Jarl and Miss N the Sheffield Brew Co Galena, which was stronger than the Jarl but about 80p a pint cheaper. We sat outside watching the bird life on the river and letting it get dark and the triffid like lamps light up, before we opted for more beer. This time I had a half of Kia Kaha from the Crwr Tal community brewery, and a Seven Brothers brewery IPA as well as another pint of Jarl, which came to £6.16 and was shared between us both.

It was now dark and we walked round to the Ship for a pint each of the Kelham Pale Rider which, at a guess, was likely £2.80 a pint and was as always, on top form. We then repaired to Shakespeares to drink some Hand Drawn Monkey beers, Tynebank Mosaic and the Raspberry Wheat beer from Revolutions, before realising that it was too late to get a bus and ordering a taxi home.

So, the first three days have been a success with some excellent beer in a number of equally excellent Sheffield boozers. Tomorrow, I will tell you all about yesterday and today as well.


Wee Beefy  

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Beers in the Brothers and others

Hello all,

         its not surprising that having not blogged since June I have been beaten to reviewing the newly reopened Ye Olde Shakespeares Inn on Well Road Heeley by another Sheffield blogger. Its also not a problem since I have now met one of the Two Beer Geeks and wish them all the very best in blogging about Sheffield. As "regular" readers will note, the Sheffield beer blogging scene has been somewhat quiet of late with the exception of the beer geeks duo. What better reason then to change that situation....

I'm on day three of my holiday at home and have decided today that I will not go out drinking. Having drunk every night for the past fortnight that is a sensible health and cost inspired move. This trembling,  shivering, naked splash into the icy waters of sobriety has afforded me the perfect opportunity to write about some of the drinking I've done lately, starting with last night.

I went to Archer Road Beer Stop to see my long time grind and former employer Davefromtshop. We decided to walk to the Mount Pleasant Inn and then head for the Brothers Arms. This pub used to be the Ye Olde Shakespeare as mentioned earlier and has been leased by the Everly Pregnant Brothers from Punch and refurbished. They have a Facebook page here which I hope you can access, and the Two Beer Geeks review is theer - do take a look once you have read my review.

We started at the shop and walked up Cawthorne Grove and Fraser Crescent and up Cobnar Road, which is steeper than I imagined, and out onto the main road to spot the Mount Pleasant Inn, looking very much so in the evening light. It was not sunny, but orangey and gold tinted clouds were hanging heavy over the city. Inside there were 5 beers to choose from, and we both opted for excellent Welbeck Abbey Harley, 4.2% and £3.20 a pint.

Sitting in the room on the right we talked about history - Davefromtshop is a big fan of the subject and helped us through the topic of Sir John Franklin, who died seeking the Northwest passage, and has three statues to him in the world. See, you didn't know that did you?*

Moving on we made our way to the much improved beer range at the Cross Scythes. Its worth noting that both these were first visits for Dave and both pubs serve quality real ales. Here we had half a Navigation brewery gold for Dave and I had half a Redemption porter which was excellent. I probably mentioned it before but I used to drink in the Scythes 21 years ago when I worked at nearby Scarsdale House. It was a large Tetley pub selling a decent pint of that, and we used to sit in the garden in the sunshine (it was always sunny, remember?) at lunchtime. The garden is smaller now but much nicer and the beer range is much improved. This leads us nicely on to The Brothers Arms....

Getting there took half an hour walking to Gleadless and carying on until we spotted the pub lights. The pub has kept its stone writing on the front proclaiming its former name, while the Brothers Arms signs are subtle but effective. Inside up the front steps you are immediately hit by the light - its a lot brighter than it used to be! The refurbishment is very well done, the layout appears not to have changed but the main difference is the bar, now sporting 8 handpumps including one for cider.

Dave had a pint of a Nelson Brewery pale which had a very dry finish after a noticeable Lancastrian malty body, whereas I went for a pint of the excellent Blue Bee Tangled Up IPA. This had the old Blue Bee label design and it may therefore have been brewed to the original recipe. I understand Blue Bee aren't going to change the Lustin for Stout recipe (this was also on) so maybe Tangled Up will stay the same? Either way, it was on fantastic form, and a bargain at £2.90 a pint for a 6% beer.

The pub was busy and we soon went for a second pint, this time both on the Blue Bee, and I also bought a sausage roll to soak up the alcohol. There are noticeable areas in the pub with slightly different atmospheres. The area behind us is the snug with the views across the city and that seemed very vibrant and looked very enticing. The area to our left was where the dart board was and that was being used, there is also a seating area to the right where we were and to the far left which seemed quieter.

 Its clear where the internal walls were but the fact that the pub still has different areas to sit in is a bonus, and no doubt when its sunny the outside seating areas will be very popular. I first came to The Shakespeare when it won a CAMRA pub of the month in the 90's. It was run very well by an older licensee who I think retied soon after and who kept Tetleys and and Burton and similar guests to the Red Deer at the time. The pub was packed on that night, but suffered after the licensee left, and my last visit 4 years ago saw an attempt to revive it with Tetley the sole real ale on. It will be interesting to see what impact some real competition ale wise, will have on the nearby Sheaf View.

Which was our penultimate stop. A pint of Blackjack which then ran out was mine, plus Dave had a pint of the beer brewed for the Sheaf, the name of which sadly escapes me! We found somewhere to sit and discussed this pub's past as well, before opting to finish on two halves of the Axholme Sandtoft Stout which was gloriously smooth and tasty.

We finished the night back at Archer Road Beer Stop. I know I may sound biased but Dave really has got an amazing range of UK bottled beers in at present. We tried one of the Bavarian beers, and a Mexican micro brewery beer but its fair to say I was ready for a snooze by this time so I won't attempt to guess what they were.

The main thing about the night was catching up with Dave and resitting the pubs I drank in when I first started working at the shop in 1995. The good boozers remain good and the poor boozers are now also good.

Refreshing to report a positive change of fortune for some urban Sheffield pubs.


Wee Beefy

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Upcoming dotage event


       I have been slow posting again I admit but my excuse is...OK, sorry, one of my excuses is that I will soon turn a corner on the path of life. I will reach an age milestone, a deal breaking mark of my existence, a wondrous and unlikely event. Yes. I will become 40 years old.

Having lived more than half of my expected life already and, according to a fattish man who said my type 1 diabetes meant I'd be lucky to make 40, surpassed some people's expectation in doing so, I thought I would celebrate. And I would do so, by attempting to contribute to not wasting money on a 70th or similar nonsense, and have a jolly good drink. Of tasty delicious and hoppy real ale. Noms!

Those of you who know me or maybe have read this blog before may consider that this is hardly news. You are right. But as part of my enforced three days on the waggon I have nothing better to do than fantasize in writing about the beery delights to come. In summary, this means that after a swift pint or two on the day and an evening of luxury at home, there will be a do at Shakespeares, then next weekend a barbecue, where I will hopefully have a whole polypin of real ale to share and drink.

At the do there will hopefully be a pumpclip though, created and designed by myself, Miss N and Matty, to adorn the pump designed for a Blue Bee beer which I am told will be pale and hoppy at about 4.5%. It is brewed by new(ish) brew recruit Josh and may have a subtle addition....

The only downside to the celebrations is that so soon after I'll still be 40 and still be dredging through an unseemly quiche of crap, unedifying soul destroying menial work until I cease to function, or serve any useful purpose. on which basis, I suppose I'd better enjoy the celebrations...

Thanks to Chris and Tom at Shakespeares (in advance...) and Rich, Andy and Josh at Blue Bee for assisting me in toasting my upcoming dotage. I look forward to some other beer bloggers maybe posting about what happens, since I absolutely am not taking any notes. Maybe see some of you there.



Friday, 23 May 2014

Recent slaking


        here are a few details of pubs and beers encountered in the last few weeks. Until I get back into blogging regularly there are numerous details I have omitted so here are a handful, fr you  to realise you already know or which are in fact old news....

The Abbeydale, as they are known, have last month launched a new menu a the Dev Cat in town. The launch coincided with a ten years in the GBG certificate and featured free pints up until late on , with   a table of small portions of heir new menu items, including fish and chips, spicy pork ribs and salmon. Dan Baxter from the Abbeydale explained that previously the menu had been extensive but only about 6 dishes sold so they were slimming it down. Beers wise, apart from a revolutions stout we were on absolution all night, before finishing on an excellent but pricey bottle of geuze.

One venue myself and Miss N have frequented a lot recently has been the Bath Hotel off West Street This part one national inventory listed back street boozer is managed by Edd and Steff and has served an increasingly good range of beers, from Hand Drawn Monkey, Bristol Beer Factory, Thornbridge, Fyne Ales, Saltaire and Blackjack. Recently the Blackjack IPA and black IPA were on sensational form, as was the Fyne Ales Hurricaine Jack. Fine beer, a fantastic interior and Edd's homemade sausage rolls make the Bath well worth a visit

One sunny Sunday I walked from my house down Greenland Road to the Wentworth on Milford Street in front of Forgemasters. It was a Sunday and they weren't open again until Wednesday evening so the beer range was just one, Fox Heacham Gold. It was on good form at less than £3.00 a pint and it was very comfortable sat near the fire supping and erm...texting if I recall. A minor disaster followed since my next pint was the last out but they also sell bottles of Brewdog dead pony club (cloudy!) and Bradfield stout so I stayed for a bottle of the first.

From here I walked to the Don Valley Hotel for  a pint of Howard Town Wrens Nest at £2.60 a pint. It was a little cloudy but tasted fine and I enjoyed my stop so much I went in again the other day to sup Blanco Peach and Five Rivers from Sheffield Brewing Company. A half of Dukeries followed in the Carlton before I had a pint of Moonshine for £3.00 in the Grapes, then headed to the Sheffield Tap. Here I met Steff, Liz, the Man of Ash and Paul Holden who is the Sheffield Beer Blog writer. Paul was good company and not who I had imagined he was! His mate was having a birthday night out which saw us end up at the Sheaf View for many excellent pints. A great night out overall.

I have also recently drunk in the Rutland after a walk into town, where we had pints of Brass Castle Cliffhanger, Summer Wine  brewing's brutal Sabretooth IPA and Titanic stout along with a slutty rutty butty for Miss N and a pork and chorizo burger for me. With Magic Rock Highwire and Dark Arts also available this was another great beer selection.

Finally a mention for the University Arms where I went twice last week. The first time I sat with Matty in the sun supping an excellent Great Heck Mosaic and a bottle of Camden Hells, the second was last Saturday when I had both the Camden Hells and Gentlemans Wit as well as Welbeck Cavendish on cask. I returned with Miss N later that night and brought her a G and T to settle her stomach and enjoyed more excellent cask ale sat in the garden. The Uni Arms has a decent selection of real ales and bottles (see the board) and has good food to match along with a beer garden which is a great suntrap - I heartily recommend you pop in when you get chance.

So, that's my news of late, am off now to the Closed Shop beer fest at Commonside where I expect to have a couple of halves. Gallons...


Wee Beefy

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Bozzer has left the building


       the best way, I find, to prepare for a leaving do is to go to the pub first. This applies even when said do is in the pub. But don,t worry, it doesn't have to be the same pub, you could go to two. So it was that myself and Miss N prepared for Doctor Bozzer's do with a couple of pints.

Robenbacher (for it was he) had warned us to arrive about half 7 so that he could guarantee to remember our being there. At 19.25 I strode into the Malin Bridge Inn for the first time ever to meet Goth John, Dev, Miss N Matty and Chris for a catch up and a drink. The do was at Shakespeares. The plan was already unfurling. But there was ale to be drunk so I didn't care.

The Malin Bridge Inn used to have an old Smiths window if I recall correctly and although now lost, still retains a traditional layout with separate rooms and furnishings. It sells two real ales, Deuchars at 2.95 and Doom Bar - I went for Deuchars. The front rooms are the smarter and the back room had music on and the gang were sat outside enjoying the warm air. I settled down with my surprisingly good Deuchars to listen in and join the conversation and to catch up with Miss N. The atmosphere was good, the landlady friendly and overall this was a good first visit, and it won't be my last.

Up into town we headed down to Shakespeares near 9pm to find Robin reasonably sober. We sat down with pints of the excellent Marble Earl Grey IPA and watched the crowds build up until Robin was given a presentation of some beer bottles and persuaded to do a speech, the finer details of which have been obliterated by several pints of Earl Grey IPA at 6.5% or similar. It was, very, very nice though.

The half of Hopcraft mosaic or citra stout wasn't up to their usual standards and Miss N felt a little unwell so I bought her a gin and tonic and more Earl Grey before we finished on a Boon perfect marriage geuze with stuff in it for about a fiver a bottle. This was a great blend of sour flavours which finished the night brilliantly, and as we sneaked into the taxi before Robin and Dave W and others headed off for late drinks, it was time to say a heartfelt goodbye.

Robin is to work in the brewing industry for a local producer, maybe tinkering in the tun,and I think its obvious that despite having helped Shakespeares win pub of the year in 2013, he would never have imagined working in the brewing industry if he hadn't helped me and others brew Pilcrow Porter (the people's porter, you may recall) at Blue Bee in August. I mean, yeah. Probably that.

A big three cheers to Robin then, and I wish him all the best.

Wee Beefy

Sunday, 11 May 2014



        I also recently went to the Lades.You know, the city in West Yorkshire. Once again I was inaugurating Miss N into its pubby delights so only ventured to one new pub but as with my other visits, Leodis did not let us down. Here's what happened last week!

We were late leaving and got there about 16.00 and headed straight to Friends Of Ham...about the same time as much of the rest of Leeds. We nabbed a seat at the bar and ordered Cromarty Red Rooster and Amerikaans pale from De Molen and settled down in front of freshly sliced meats to drool over the menu. Lardo was obviously chosen, as was a salami from Tuscany and a rosemary and pepper cured meat, along with a seasoned white cheese from Scotland, (droughtie?) a Bute Cheddar and a goats cheese. The price is still the same and the quality was once again superb, as were the pickles and sliced fresh bread. We finished with halves of Hawkshead Red on cask and halves of Brooklyn Fire and Ice -   a cracking start.

Next up was a new venue, the Tapped Leeds. Very confusing on entering as there are no taps of handpumps - beer is dispensed from a wooden wall with signs above the taps but it wasn't clear where the cask beer was to me and Miss N. We asked at the bar and were given the choice of two or three pale ales, and these were nice but it was only after visiting the other end of the bar that we noticed what the cask choice was.

Beers were halves of Kirkstall Dissolution and Bristol Beer Factory Independence, both of which we were given tastes of and were in good form. Having now worked out where the cask and keg lists were we also ordered further halves of Bad Seed IPA on cask and Pressure Drop Freimans smoked dunkel on keg, and once again these were on top form. I think, in fact we both thought, the beer was excellent, but the layout is Brewdog Sheffield like and info hard to come by at first which is annoying. Otherwise a great venue for beer.

We popped to Whitelocks next which was understandably packed, and having secured a seat in the alley outside we had halves of Great Heck Treason stout from a rage of about 8. We took time to survey the chaos inside before drinking the heavy dark ale, then going back for more beer. This time Miss N tried the Elland Pale and myself a very agreeable Taylors Golden Mild. One day I swear I will arrive at Whitelocks at opening time and photograph its sumptuous interior!

Up Briggate next to the North Bar. This was a big favourite with us both and we quickly got a seat and two excellent beers to start us off, with Miss N on  a half of Dark arts and myself on an excellent Weird Beard Cutthroat Porter, both of which were on great form. We then decided to try out some bottles and ended up with two bottles of saison - Kaapse Brouwers Harry and Maximus Saison. This came to £9.00 but was well worth it and by this time, a little refreshed, we splurged an unspeakable sum of cash on a bottle of Gueze. We were refreshed and very happy in North...

We finished our trip at the Duck and Drake, where we stood at the packed bar to hear a band finish playing, supping beers that I have forgotten to record, but which were, I assume very nice - as was the food, which may have been a pie, I genuinely don't know however! It was a good contrast to the decor and beer choice at North Bar and a very enjoyable place to stop before our long slog home and taxi to Chez Nuit, since the late bus doesn't run on a Sunday. Overall this was a great if short introduction to Leeds and one which tells us we need to go again, and explore some more.


Wee Beefy

Saturday, 10 May 2014

A blog post. About beer and pubs. Honest....

Now then,

        derby day drinking took place recently. Not supping at a horse race, or near a match between two local teams, but in Derby, in Derbyshire. It was me and Miss  N's first proper trip to the home of Brunswick, Black Iris and Dancing Duck breweries, and so we didn't really try anywhere I hadn't been before. Crucially that didn't stop us enjoying what the place had to offer.

Arriving on a Sunday my main concern was we might miss visiting the Station on Midland Road. We arrived at nearly half 2, the lights were on but the door remained closed, even when we stood hopefully on the step.Luckily our first open pub compensated well. The Alex is a shortcut away and was offering a good range of beers as always. I had a delicious pint of Hilden Stout and Miss N a titanic white star and we sat down in the far corner to sup, eat pork pies and soak up the atmosphere. We also took the opportunity to have a half each of Oakham Green Devil on keg, which was £4.40 and on great form - not too fizzy and not too cold.

We walked across the park next to the Smithfield and sat down next to the river in the cold sunshine to enjoy halves of Whim Arbor Light for me and an Oakham bishops for Miss N. The pub was busy which is good to see but I've not seen it packed in years - perhaps its out of the way location doesn't help, but I can confirm the beer range was good, especially the Whim.

Next we visited the multiroomed Exeter Arms and sat in the small house round the back and had pints of their Dark Drake for me and Milk Street March Madness for Miss N. The Exeter was also busy and we got talking to some fellow slakers in there,  before we headed for the Derby Tap.

Here we had a pint of Derby Brewing Mercia IPA for me and halves of dashingly dark and on tap for Miss N. Seating was in short supply as there was a do on upstairs but everyone congragated downstairs til it started, and the beer wasn't as good as the Exeter, although there was a good range on, and the food looked fab.

The Peacock cam next, and we got talking to some of the guests in here as well, and enjoyed two pints each, my first was the Hartsthorne IPA, and my second and Miss N's both were of Bass, which was on good form and I think was served from the barrel. We also had a bite to eat but this was three weeks ago and alas, my notes stop at this point! The food was, however, very enjoyable and was likely a pie. Probably.......

A wander took us to the Seven Stars where we squeezed in a chat and a couple of halves before we went to the usually excellent Flowerpot. Here we had Black Iris and shared the bar with a group of loud drinkers out celebrating, which was a shame really, although they were certainly enjoying themselves. After we walked through torrential rain to the Station to find it definitely closed, so headed for a last one or two, one in the Brunswick and a last pint each of Green Devil in the Alex, before catching our last train home.

Once again Derby offered the type of pubs that Sheffield lacks, as well as a stellar range of real ales and didn't disappoint. Its good to know that despite Sheffield being such a great place to drink there are places nearby with their own equally ace selection of pubs, to visit.


Wee Beefy

Monday, 31 March 2014

Odes of March

So, its nearly April and am doing my 13th or 14th post of 2014...

      hardly a productive third but also not a dry one. Here are a few notable details from the last week to support the second point,

Monday I was in the Bath Hotel after seeing Wee Fatha to meet Miss N and collect my keys. which had mischievously jumped out of my pocket on Saturday when I got my camera out, Along with access to my house this also allowed me chance to sup a couple of pints of the excellent Whim Flower Power, a favourite IPA of mine with plenty of hops and a refreshing dry bitterness. We finished on halves of Hardknott Azimuth pale on Keykeg which was drier still, but a nice drop.

We followed this with a trip to Brewdog Sheffield based in the former Jacks records opposite the Forum on Division street. Inside its quite small considering how busy it was and how popular Division street gets, but we found a booth overlooking the Forum and supped Tempest marmalade IPA and Magic Rock circus of sour for Miss N. We followed this with half a hardcore IPA and a bottle of Fantome saison, a surprisingly effective combo. Back in on Saturday we shared a bottle of the Fantome but am not sure it was a tenner this time...

Yesterday I was in the Rutland supping Hopcraft Mosaic Plus at a rather hefty price, along with excellent Magic Rock Punchline chipottle porter and Summer Wine Cascade IPA at over 7% which was a very enjoyable beer. After an emergency chip butty we headed for the Sheffield Tap; I seem to have forgotten what we enjoyed, but we did bump into Tap Mum Liz.

Friday I supped a Brew Co Pioneer IPA in the Riverside for a few hours before heading to meet Miss N and Matty in Shakespeares where he had a stout and Miss N and I supped the excellent Brodies - rare that you see Brodies and this was on great form when we supped iyt. We also stopped out for a curry from West Bar Tandoori which was excellent.

Sunday me and Wee Keefy were in Crookes at the Ball and I was supping the Chatsworth Gold from Peak ales and the Naylors 1641 pale, all at £3.00 0r less and well kept. En route to meet Miss N in the Rutland I also had a quick half of Moonshine in the Red Lion which made a good change.

More news and hopefully regular posts when I get to fix my old or buy a new tomputer!

Wee Beefy

Tuesday, 25 March 2014



         just a short post to point out am alive but my P.C went haywire a fortnight ago or more and I only just got back on the net. So, normal service will resume in April I hope. but I need a proper computer to blog on....

The other info concerns Wee Fatha who nearly a fortnight ago left hospital for some respite care and physio for a month - he is already planning his first trip out when he gets out, to the Royal Cottage pub and the Quiet Woman at Earl Sterndale. His getting better is obviously great news as is the determination shown in getting back to the pub - all details will of course be shared on here.

My only recent ale news is that I went to the Brewdog bar in Sheffield last night with Miss N and yes its quite pricey and has no real ale, however, they do have bottles of Fantome saison, the large ones, at a rather good value £10.00 a bottle. For that reason alone, I suggest you pop your head in and stop for a drink or two. It was a pleasant surprise when we went. More details on that in April as well.


Wee Beefy

Monday, 17 February 2014

February firsts


             its true to say that February has been resplendent - sunny days as often as howling storms, excellent ales poured straight form the cask, forced by gas pressure from a container or through a stout metal stick, or even poured from a glass container into another unsealed glass container. All have graced my days. Not to mention some first goes, which I have compiled below.

With some spare time to kill recently I made my way to the Nursery Tavern on Ecclesall Road. I had previously celebrated the Nursery's renown and its revolting horror with others without ever actually having visited it. As it was, I was in the right place about the right time and it seemed safe to pop in.

Outside its fairly as you'd expect. I'm not sure of the pub's history but I know it looks on the outside at least to be a 1920's or 1930's pub. Inside it smells of food, as you might expect given its position on Eccy Road, and there is a long bar on your left, a little similar to the old bar at the Hallamshire on West Street in the early nineties. There were three real ales to choose from, I think, so I opted for a half of Moonshine. It came in at £1.50 a half. It tasted fine, and I sat down on a comfy leather seat watching the door with a nineteen thirties style fireplace on my left. It wasn't bad, to be honest. But it was 16.00. On a Monday. I must pop back in on a Friday.....

Also on Eccy Road is Thornbridge's pub/bar/kitchen/restaurant/??? Graze Inn, seen on their  website here. It was also that same Monday, it was also very quiet - and it also didn't warrant a real ale since only Brother Rabbit and Lord Marples were on. Sigh. Following the signs on the left to the "bar" I noticed it was quite un-pubby and quite...empty. I decided to try a half of the Chiron since it had tasted of lavender in the DAda the other night. Here the Chiron was also wrong but in a slightly less wrong way. The pub was in some ways engagingly quiet, and had I not been heading back into town I could have stayed to lap up the silence a little longer. I did not.

Once in town I went to Beer Central. One of the fears I expressed on Facefriend when I heard about this amazing new beer shop was prices. After all, if you have the money you can probably get any beer in the world - but it would cost you a bloody fortune. With Dave valiantly struggling on at the Archer Road Beer Stop it seemed only right to see if his second nearest competitor had his head screwed on. He did.

Row after row of shelves starting with sensibly priced (and very inexpensively priced) local beers then spreading out to huge numbers of UK beers, the tiny shop is set out in a perfect way. You'll either find a £2.50, £3.00 or £3.50 shelf (there are a few mixed) and there are tons of unusual London brews, and lots else from the UK and abroad, to delight in. I decided today was a saison day and so opted to select  a "Brew by Numbers" Motueka and lime saison. It was chuffing marvelous, I can confirm. It was really very nice indeed. It was, maybe, £2.95 a bottle and so perhaps a smidgen too much but it was very drinkable. Only about 6 more saison to try now from there....!

The final stop was the night before and that was the Cavendish. Admittedly I had been in the Cav before but that was under sufferance on a team Christmas party a couple of times in the last ten years so this was my first time on my own. They had something major, like maybe Greedy King OSH, and Moonshine on Cask, with two more spaces waiting to be filled. On Keykeg, their "craft" range included 4 Keykegs at very reasonable prices. I had a half of the Red Willow heartless stout and a half of the Magic Rock Cannonball at 7.2% for about £3.50. The Red Willow was good, but not exceptional, and the Cannonball was grim at first but when replaced turned out to be very nice indeed. It may seem a little weird to sudden;y throw the pub into the mash up over Keykeg and craft, but at least it shows, if nowt else in terms of price (the Cannonball was, I think, £4.30 a pint), that thee are more than two sides to the price war. Good on the Cavendish for giving Keykeg a try. Go there and try it!

So the above shows that your expensive, awkward and possibly overpriced Keykeg nonsense doesn't just have to be found near the station, and also that you can have a quiet and enjoyable pint on Ecclesall Road - although it has to be a Monday Either way, the main message is that tasty cask or Keykeg ale is becoming even easier to find in Sheffield, and you can often enjoy the two with some very nice food. Making it, once again, a rather marvelous place to go supping.


Wee Beefy

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Chuff me! Its February!

Now then,

       I read a blog a month or two ago by Mudgie highlighting the paucity of posts from prominent bloggers. With the notable exception of post-ophiles Boak and Bailey, he was musing here about his own easing off on posting. I remember thinking that as well as not being notable, this was also my experience - I seem to have slumped to an average 9 posts a month which is, if nothing else, a rather odd amount. Granted, since November there have been significant pressures on my time, but 2013 was much more sedate than 2012. So what would this year bring?

Well, this is only my second post in February.

But don't worry, that isn't it. There is also actual information. I said actual, instead of factual on purpose. Because a fortnight or more of drinking, even when making notes some of the time, is a feat to remember. Here's some notable fragments.

At Shakespeares the North Riding series continued with Mosaic which I managed to miss (Gah!), Jester, 3rd anniversary 60 minute IPA and summat else. All of which were in fine fettle, and went down alarmingly well. Other excellent grog spotted included Citra Noir from Mallinsons which was on sparkling form, a red ale from Black Iris which was a nice change from hoppy stuff, a Brewshed stout, and something with a funny name (see- "journalism", posts passim...)

On the last Friday in January and the following Friday leaving do's and birthdays occurred. Miss N had her official birthday do on 31st which was payday, meaning more people could attend.Somehow, the Dove and Rainbow had managed to secure a cask of Bradfield Belgian Blue. Between us we demolished most of it. On the next Friday I was on Blue Bee Lustin for Stout, but somehow contrived to make it last for an hour, since I was already a trifle refreshed when I arrived.

Earlier that night a sojourn to the Riverside was required as Bam Jiggot was off to get a real job, i.e not one in the farce plant that is the civil service. To my delight, the excellent Great Heck Citra was on, so I forced myself to have several very enjoyable pints of that.

The Red Deer was also visited, once after an annoying stand outside an openinghourssign-less Bath Hotel, whose opening hours I couldn't recall, but which was shut at 18.30 on a Sunday. Humph. The Deer meanwhile was open and had an excellent pint of Broadside on offer, which I supped, whilst Mr Devden and friends drank the Moorhouses Black Cat Mild, at £2.95 a pint.

The Rutland had been a handy stop off a couple of times and featured the excellent Permanent Revolution pale ale and Monkey Business Belgian style ale from Hopcraft, along with Magic Rock Cannonball, Summer Wine Mokka milk stout and their excellent Diablo pale ale - alas, as is often the case, all the Summer Wine output was key keg, but some cask was reported in DAda....

DAda also very nearly yielded an exciting pint of the Thornbridge Crimerion breakfast stout, alas this ran out before we could try it, but forced into a corner I ended up buying a pint of previously excellent but long less so Jaipur - and bloody loved it! Also notable was the Founders breakfast stout in bottle. It was probably chocolate and vanilla coffee stout or something. Either way it was chuffing ace. The Summer Wine cask came on Saturday night and I haven't made it in yet this week.

I also got to the Fat Cat where I enjoyed several excellent Wateralls pork pies and a rather splendid pint of Twisted Oak Downhill Porter, as well as visiting the Harlequin, which is a rare venue for me. Me and Miss N optimistically started on pints of the Great Heck Yakima IPA, before sharing a bottle of Sierra Nevada Torpedo. Meanwhile,  the York had some very tasty food on and numerous pints of Acorn Spalter and Winter Pale plus a Belgian brew from Roosters.

The Three Tuns tempted us with Blue Bee Solidus, Lustin for Stout and excellent Welbeck Abbey Harley, as well as the company of Dave and Doctor Bob, before we headed for the Sheffield Tap, which forms the bookend of this library of libation.

On that night we drank the excellent Redemption Pale and quite  a lot of excellent Roosters High Tea, which is different, if not slightly better, that their mad hatters earl grey IPA. Other pints supped in there include Magic Rock Dark Arts, as you would, Tiny Rebel Cwlch, the excellent Red Willow Faithless xxxx which we had numerous pints of, and finally we went mad and bought a bottle, of all things.

Having recently purchased a bottle of Brew By Numbers Saison, I spotted their citra saison in the Tap and decided to go for it. Washed down with an Oakham Citra for nor exactly a comparison, and though pricey, the saison was amaison. Do yo see what I did there? Good. So, whilst the above seems reckless, it represents just over two weeks of supping for two people, so its not that bad. Although, two further posts are to follow about February's exploits....

FINALLY - don't forget its the Closed Shop 1st birthday celebration tomorrow - which is being held at the Closed Shop. Seriously. I heartily recommend a visit f you have time and waterproofs.


Wee Beefy (hic)

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Ten important people in the 1980's

         in the roller-coaster of social and family events of late I have forgotten to post my annual round up of frankly bizarre search terms that have led folks to these hallowed pages. Its perhaps worth reminding you that I borrowed this idea from the sadly missed Simon Johnson - I was a fan of his Googlefail round ups, not least by the consistent appearance in his search terms list of "Sue Holdernesses's cleavage" having brought up his blog.

In the last two years the internet, mainly via Indian hosted sex sites, has made quite an effort to lead people to mine, and I have been recording some of the search terms used throughout 2013. Below is a list of the strangest:

Barmaid garden of Eden
Beautiful Scottish beefy men
Bar sandalwood fanny
Civic crown winner beefy
10 important people in the 1980s
What is expectation dichotomy
He weee eeh
Big beefy truckers
Are there ever monks in buxworth
Woman found dead in Crosspool
Delicensed pubs for sale in crewe
Division smegma
Beefy mongers
Which artist painted the cow picture....
All hail the beeflords review
Cobden peach festival
How to have a wee at a festival
Antidisestablishmmentariansim colin j
Premier Inn Shotts dirty women
Unwashed penis photos of beefy men

My absolute favourite, with apologies to her family, has to be "woman found dead in Crosspool". Quite how disappointed one might be with finding a beer blog after searching out such information is difficult to measure. But at least it doesn't reference hairy penises. So, hey. things are looking up....

Here's to less hairiness in 2014!

Beefalot x

Thursday, 30 January 2014

21st century Rotherham pubs

Naa then,
          word on the street is that Rovvrum, which is how you actually spell it, and the place that I worked for some 5 years, has gone and got its sen some pubs. This wouldn't have been a surprise to me last century when there were a number of city centre pubs selling real ale, although admittedly nothing of the micro brewery type, however it seemed from intermittent 21st century reports that one by one those boozers had closed down or changed hands. So I forgot about Rotherham's pubs. Now, I felt it was time to head back and take a look.

Arriving in persistent drizzle I was heading for the Crinoline Bridge pub. I was fairly certain (and still am) that this must have been the only pub in the UK with that name - and was even more certain that the bridge you crossed to reach it from the Interchange wasn't made of crinoline. Heading for wjere it was I was surprising to find there was no bridge - perhaps it had indeed been crafted entirely from fabric and succumbed to the elements? Either way, in its place is a subway and arriving on the other side of the ring road I discovered there was no longer a pub. Instead, a cafe called Havanas. Having drank Landlord in the Crin at my leaving do in 2003 this was quite a sad discovery, but there were other pubs to see and pints to be supped.

I was planning on going to the Kingfisher but couldn't for the life of me remember how to get there - I was probably in the right place where I was to be honest but returned to the Interchange side and ended up at the club behind the Bridge Inn.  Kind of knowing the way, I decided instead to amble uphill to the Crofts, and the Blue Coat. Inside it was warm and friendly and there was real ale in one of Rotherham's two Wetherspoons. From a fairly decent range I had a pint of the Dukeries Gun smoke, a reddish brown 5.5% beer that didn't seem particularly smokey, or as dark as I'd hoped. However, it was £1.99 a pint and went down very nicely.

Next I wandered out past the town hall and popped my head round the door of the Top House, now F.U.B.A.R, to see a gleaming bar devoid of handpumps. Although I was only there to drink real ale I eschewed the delights of this as well as the Lloyds Cornlaw Rhymer, and headed for my furthest pub, via a pub graveyard.

There's no reason why Rotherham should be any better placed than other Yorkshire towns and cities to avoid a reduction in its pub stock, but Westgate encompasses both sides of the story of urban pubs spectacularly in a short stretch.  On the one hand, the road has two fantastic old pubs right next to each other, the Alma, and the Cutlers. Both have impressive frontages but for different reasons. The Cutlers is sturdy and functional and has beautiful carved stonework and terracotta looking Stones branding above the central door and windows, with a pleasing reddish theme throughout. Meanwhile, the Alma is taller and more ostentatious but has some fantastic detail and Bentleys Rotherham Ales signage (and on the side) with a "rebuilt 1903" sign on the very top. It also sports some intricate foliage and small shrubs and is very much resolutely closed. Both are no doubt ripe for ruination. Sorry, development....

It occurred to me that it was the Alma that used to sell Acorn beers many moons ago and that I had been in a number of times around that period. I don't recall it having any particular stand out features in the interior, but I know for certain that I never ventured in the Cutlers, which was open at the time, and that I also never made it into the Wellington, a former Wards pub across the road. This is occupied by the academy of music, so at least it isn't being reclaimed by nature. Further down Westgate, where the road splits stands the pub, now also seemingly an empty building, known at one time as the Dusty Miler, while the building next to the baths was a pub at some point in the last century but I never remember it being so. However, the other side of the pub story on Westgate comes from its only survivor. The Prince of Wales Feathers, now owned by Chantry brewery and renamed the New York Tavern.

The New York is an attractive looking corner pub, long and narrow throughout, with some 1950/60's looking loos at the far end. On the bar are are two ciders, one Chantry brewery ale and one guest, plus five more on the left sporting the full Chantry range, Iron and Steel bitter, Diamond Black stout, and New York Pale Ale. There are also two pub specials, including Mighty Millers at 5.5%. And all real ale is £2.00 a pint. I had a half of the Millers (it felt wrong to drink a beer of that name) and a pint of the New York Pale and it was in fantastic condition. I also tried the 18 eighteen which was a ruby ale, but the New York stood out. It was the beer of the day.

On the left there is seating facing the bar and an end room similar to the front of the Talbot in Ripley, with groups of drinkers sat in both sections. A friend mentioned to me that it didn't seem very friendly but I think it's just a traditional boozer, with the odd raucous drinker and some loud banter. More importantly its a (virtually) town centre pub selling well kept, sensible priced, local micro brewery beers. So its gets full marks for that.

A quick detour to a pub that I think used to be the Devonshire followed - now the Urban Tap or similar, and resolutely real ale free. So I finished where I intended to,  in the Bridge Inn, formerly Nellie Denes. I'd heard good things about this (former?) Old Mill brewery pub and I wasn't disappointed. It was rather ace. From a range of about 7 real ales including Landlord and Reverend James and some more common local guests, there was the Demo red ale from Revolutions and the Chantry New York Pale. So I had a pint each of these, at a bargain £5.20, and sat near the bar in a busy pub with a friendly landlord. They do steak pies and peas and gravy for two quid, and the beer was well kept. A great end to my brief wet wander round Rotherham town centre.

One thing I do hope is that there aren't any more pub casualties to come. The grim tale of abandoned boozers was a stark contrast to the recent resurgence in Rotherham and means I came away with as many highlights as low points. So its perhaps not going to become a first choice place for a nights drinking, but I have friends in Rotherham and promised to go over and sup on their turf soon. So maybe it won't be too long before I'm back.


Wee Beefy.